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What is a public sector pension worth?

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Author Info

  • Richard Disney

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Nottingham)

  • Carl Emmerson

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Gemma Tetlow

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

We measure accruals in defined benefit (DB) pension plans for public and private sector workers in Britain, using typical differences in scheme rules and sector-specific lifetime age-earnings profiles by sex and educational group. We show not just that coverage by DB pension plans is greater in the public sector, but that median pension accruals as a % of salary are almost 5% higher among DB-covered public sector workers than covered private sector workers. This is largely driven by earlier normal pension (retirement) ages. For workers of different ages in the two sectors, marginal accruals also vary as a result of differences in earnings profiles across the sectors. The differences in earnings profiles across sectors should induce caution in using calculated coefficients on wages from cross sections of data in order to estimate sectoral wage effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W07/17.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:07/17

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  1. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "The Consequences of The Decline in Public Sector Pay in Britain: A Little Bit of Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages F107-F118, February.
  2. Richard Disney & Amanda Gosling, 1998. "Does it pay to work in the public sector?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(4), pages 347-374, November.
  3. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 1996. "What Are Occupational Pension Plan Entitlements Worth in Britain?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 213-38, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Danzer, Alexander M. & Dolton, Peter, 2011. "Total Reward in the UK in the Public and Private Sectors," IZA Discussion Papers 5656, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Eich, Frank, 2009. "Evaluating public and private sector pensions: The importance of sectoral pay differentials," EconStor Preprints 54561, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
  3. Danzer, Alexander M. & Dolton, Peter J., 2012. "Total Reward and pensions in the UK in the public and private sectors," Munich Reprints in Economics 20028, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Meijdam, A.C. & Ponds, E.H.M., 2013. "On the Optimal Degree Of Funding Of Public Sector Pension Plans," Discussion Paper 2013-011, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Bertoni, Marco & Brunello, Giorgio, 2013. "Laterborns Don't Give Up: The Effects of Birth Order on Earnings in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 7679, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Eduard Ponds & Clara Severinson & Juan Yermo, 2011. "Funding in Public Sector Pension Plans - International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 17082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ponds, E.H.M. & Severinson, C. & Yermo, J., 2012. "Implicit debt in public sector plans: An international comparison," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5452874, Tilburg University.

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